Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company on Monday announced plans to boycott Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, or what it termed “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” in a move that sparked outrage.
“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” the company stated in a notice it posted on its website, but added it would continue to be sold in Israel.
The move marks a win for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has targeted the Vermont-based American company for the last decade, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The statement from Ben & Jerry’s went on to say: “We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region. We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year.”
The public response was quick and to the point:
Pure antisemitism. I won't buy their ice cream again. https://t.co/Ljs8wBO4jk
— Aaron Klein (@AaronKleinShow) July 19, 2021
The licensee condemned the move, telling the ice cream giant to “keep ice cream out of politics,” and urged Israelis to buy locally-made ice cream.
“The decision is entirely unacceptable. Ben & Jerry’s international decided not to renew their agreement with us in a year and a half after we refused their demand to stop distribution throughout Israel,” it said. “We urge the Israeli government and consumers — don’t let them boycott Israel.”
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party, also slammed the ice cream maker, saying, “Your ice cream brand doesn’t match our tastes. We’ll be fine without you.”
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu joined in the condemnation, tweeting: “Now we Israelis know which ice cream NOT to buy.”
Now we Israelis know which ice cream NOT to buy 🇱💪 https://t.co/j7VNpIWX0f
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) July 19, 2021